A collection of original historical photographs taken at the 1969-1970 Ann Arbor Blues Festivals will be heading to Chicago this June before beginning its cross-country journey to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of North America’s first electric Blues Festival. Over two dozen museum-quality prints will be on display at Reggie’s (2105 S State St, Chicago)from June 6 – 9 in conjunction with the Chicago Blues Festival. Afterwards, the exhibit will move to Delmark Studios before embarking on a multi-city tour that includes stops at the world-famous Antone’s Nightclub in Austin, Texas, and at Third-Man Records in Detroit, Michigan, before arriving home again in time for the 50th Anniversary of the Ann Arbor Blues Festival on August 16 – 18, 2019.
Rounding out a year-long celebration to mark the 50th anniversary of the world’s first electric blues festival, which was held on a small field next to Ann Arbor’s Huron High School, this exhibit provides a journey back in time to the ground-breaking event. Dramatic images of live performances from BB King, Howlin’ Wolf, Luther Allison, T-Bone Walker, and more will be on display, each portrayed in a way that can be revealed only by authentic black and white film. This exhibit also includes never-before-seen backstage and behind-the-scenes images. Many of the images captured at the festival in 1969-1970 have become cultural icons – a testament not only to the talent of the photographers, but to the historical nature of the festival itself.
Organizers of the Ann Arbor Blues Festival selected the photos for this exhibit from thousands of original negatives provided by some of the era’s most revered names in music photography, including Rolling Stone Magazine and Getty Images photographers Baron Wolman and Tom Copi. “When we curated these photos, we tried to create something more than a bunch of typical concert pictures. We wanted to put the Ann Arbor Blues Festival in context by showing its scope and intensity, while also revealing some of the quieter and more intimate moments the performers, and even some audience members, shared. I think we nailed it.” remarked James Partridge, the Executive Producer of the Ann Arbor Blues Festival. “Of course,” he continued, “the exhibit will contain some amazing performance images as well, some of which have never been published before. When you’ve been given access to the catalogs of some of the best concert photographers in the world, you just can’t leave some stuff out.”
The exhibit will be on display at Reggie’s, and Delmark Studios in Chicago, Antone’s Nightclub in Austin, Texas, and at Third Man Records in Detroit, Michigan leading up to the Ann Arbor Blues Festival’s 50th Anniversary celebration, which will be held August 16 – 18 at the Washtenaw Farm Council Fairgrounds in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Ann Arbor Blues Festival hopes to find a permanent home for the exhibit in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, Washington, or in a Michigan Music Museum to be created in Ann Arbor.
The 2019 Ann Arbor Blues Festival is presented by A2 Hosting.
About the Ann Arbor Blues Festival
The Ann Arbor Blues Festival is widely-regarded as the first electric blues festival in the world and featured perhaps the greatest lineup of blues musicians ever assembled – including B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Freddie King, Big Mama Thornton, Luther Allison and so many more. Expanded in 1972 and renamed the Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival, it quickly became one of the world’s premier music festivals, playing host to superstars like Ray Charles, Miles Davis, Dr. John, Koko Taylor, Etta James and countless others.
Though the last Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival was held in 2006, a group of community members revived the Ann Arbor Blues Festival in 2017 under its original name in anticipation of 2019’s 50th anniversary.
This year’s Ann Arbor Blues Festival will be held on Aug. 16-18 at the Washtenaw Farm Council Fairgrounds. To learn more about the Festival and to buy tickets, please visit us at our website at www.a2BluesFestival.com. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @A2BluesFestival, and like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/A2BluesFestival.
About A2 Hosting
Presenting Sponsor A2 Hosting got their start in Ann Arbor back in 2001 when founder and current CEO Bryan Muthig turned his hobby into a business, launching with just a few customers and configuring servers by hand. Today the Ann Arbor-based web hosting company known for its speed has a global reach, empowering creators all over the world to launch their vision on the web. “As a company that started in Ann Arbor and has grown globally, we’re excited to celebrate our local roots and support the 50th Anniversary of the historic Ann Arbor Blues Festival,” says Muthig. “Live music is so important in inspiring community engagement. We know what this event means to the city, and we’re excited to help play a part in bringing it back.”